Clearing up the Confusion: Using the Ingredients List as a Tool for Nutrition Education

(Recorded 3/6/18)

Speakers: Liz Sanders, MPH, RDN, IFIC Foundation & Sonia Hartunian-Sowa, PhD, CFS, DSM Nutritional Products;
Moderator: Alexandra C. Lewin-Zwerdling, PhD, MPA    

Despite the enormous amount of food and ingredient information available to consumers, research shows that many still have trouble making sense of food labels. The ingredients list is a huge source of confusion, as most consumers are unable to link scientific ingredient names (e.g. ascorbic acid) with their more familiar pseudonyms (e.g. vitamin C). This creates a huge communications challenge, as fears over scientific sounding vitamin names may drive consumers away from nutrient-rich foods. This session will explore new efforts to clear up the confusion over vitamin names on food labels, and uncover how nutrition educators can use the ingredients list as a tool for improving public health. 

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the current state of consumer knowledge/perceptions around vitamins and their scientific names.
  2. Know the current regulations for labeling vitamin names on the ingredients list.
  3. Learn how nutrition educators can help consumers translate ingredients lists to help consumers make healthier, more informed choices.

Liz Sanders, MPH, RDN, IFIC Foundation
Liz is the Director of Research and Partnerships at the IFIC Foundation.

Sonia Hartunian-Sowa, PhD, CFS, DSM Nutritional Products
Dr. Sonia Hartunian-Sowa is a proven leader in nutrition, food science, communications, and advocacy.  As a Scientific Leader at DSM Nutritional Products, Dr. Hartunian-Sowa is responsible for NA Food & Beverage accounts and helps customers translate nutrition science, substantiate claims, and develop strategies.  In prior roles, Dr. Hartunian-Sowa has worked in product develop (Mars, Inc.), nutrition communications (Mondelez Intl.) and helped develop and launch international brands.  In addition to industry experience, Dr. Hartunian-Sowa was an Associate Professor at the College of Saint Elizabeth where she taught and researched in both the undergraduate and graduate programs.